What it’s like staying at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort


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I’ve been eyeing a stay at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort for quite a long while. As an unabashed adult who loves Disney (though not a Disney adult, there’s a difference), I was intrigued by the idea of combining a Disney vacation with a beach vacation. After a two-night stay with my family of five this summer, I can safely say Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort did not disappoint.

What is Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort?


Along with Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is one of three Disney-owned and operated resorts located outside of a Disney park.

The 1940s lodge-themed resort is in a tucked-away spot about a five-minute drive from the beach, anchored on one side by a large marina and shopping center with dining, shopping and boat tour operators and on the other by Broad Creek. The waterfront location is quiet and peaceful, while the proximity to the marina means you are never too far from your next great meal or island excursion.

How to book Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort

Unless you are a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, there are three ways to book a room at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. You can book directly through Disney online, through a Disney vacation planner or by renting Disney Vacation Club points.

For this stay, I rented DVC points through David’s Vacation Club Rentals. For a two-night stay in a two-bedroom villa, I paid $1,722, which is equal to 82 DVC points at a rate of $21 per point.

In my experience, renting DVC points through a professional service like David’s Vacation Club Rentals is more economical than booking directly through Disney or a Disney vacation planner, but renting DVC points is also more rigid. Most DVC rental sites do not permit you to cancel or change your reservation, and payment is due in full at the time of booking. Some rental sites do offer travel insurance for an additional fee.

You’ll have more flexibility if you book through Disney or a Disney vacation planner, but you’ll probably pay more, as well, so it is a trade-off.

No matter which method you use, the hardest part of booking a room at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort will be finding availability. There is no true availability calendar for DVC resorts (but this availability tool can help), so it’s best if you are flexible with your dates and have enough time to enter a range of date combinations to see if you can find an open room. Like other DVC resorts, this one books up quickly when the availability window opens.

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Lowcountry location near the beach


You may not see this as a benefit if you prefer an oceanfront resort when you visit the beach, but I loved that the hotel’s location gave my family the chance to experience all the elements of South Carolina’s unique coastal landscape.

Waking up each morning and looking out at the sleepy creek surrounded by mossy trees made me immediately grab my book and an iced coffee to sit outside on the balcony. The entire resort had a low-key, laid-back feel that is no doubt due in part to its location.


When you are ready to visit the beach, it is only a short ride away. You can drive your own car, take the resort’s complimentary shuttle or ride along the bike path that leads straight to Disney’s Beach House. We chose to ride the bikes we had rented through the resort and had about a 10-minute ride between the resort and the beach.

Exploring the rest of Hilton Head Island is also easy. The island is only about 5 miles wide and 12 miles long. You can get about anywhere on the island in 30 minutes or less by car, and bike paths are plentiful.

Comfortable, spacious rooms

There are three room types available at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. Deluxe Studio rooms are similar to any standard hotel room, with a shared living and sleeping space, a kitchenette and a balcony. One- and two-bedroom villas have a full-size kitchen, separate living and dining area, full-size washer and dryer, and both a shower and whirlpool tub in the bathroom (two-bedroom villas have two bathrooms).

My family of five slept comfortably in the two-bedroom villa and I commented more than once that it felt large enough to live in (I couldn’t get my family on board with that plan, though). Regardless of room size, all rooms have a large furnished deck with a view of either the resort, the pool, or the creek.

The interior decor echoed the resort’s lodge theme, with nature-inspired decor, wood furnishings and artwork featuring woodland animals. The design, paired with the subdued color scheme, made the room feel as serene as the beautiful surroundings outside the door.

Mickey-shaped foods and quick bites

For me, no Disney trip is complete until I’ve had Mickey waffles, a Mickey pretzel, a Mickey-shaped ice cream bar and Dole Whip (preferably with a rum floater). Luckily, you’ll find all four at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.

There are only two dining locations at the resort, and both are quick-service. Tide Me Over is located near the main resort pool, and Signals is located at Disney’s Beach House. Both are only open through late afternoon and serve a selection of breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, snacks and beverages, including the aforementioned Disney favorites.

Next door to Tide Me Over, you’ll find the Broad Creek Mercantile, a gift shop with Disney souvenirs, travel necessities you may have forgotten to pack, snacks and beverages to keep you going after the dining locations close.

Like most Disney Vacation Club resorts, this one is designed for longer stays. Your room is outfitted with everything you need to cook a good meal, and there are grills located around the property. There are also some amazing restaurants across the water at Shelter Cover Harbour and Marina. I assume this is the reason for the lack of nighttime dining on the property.


All of the food was tasty, but I was most impressed by the fish tacos with a side of sweet potato fries (about $10) at Signals. They were surprisingly flavorful and came with a tangy slaw. Hilton Head was hot during our visit, so I cooled off with one (or two) boozy Dole Whip floats made with pineapple Dole Whip and dark rum (about $12). My oldest was spoiled by his last all-inclusive trip and exclusively drinks virgin piña coladas on vacation now, which they happily made for him for only about $5.

Tiny gym, but plenty of outdoor activities

The gym, located in the same building as Tide Me Over and Broad Creek Mercantile, is small but sufficient. There are free weights, a few weight machines and a handful of cardio machines. When you are somewhere as gorgeous as Hilton Head, I’m a firm believer you should take your fitness routine outside.

The resort has a basketball court on-site and rents tennis equipment that guests can use at one of Hilton Head’s hundreds of tennis courts. You can also rent bikes at the resort that you can take all over the island (but not off the island) starting at about $25 per day or $40 for the length of your stay. They had bikes sized for kids and adults, as well as bike trailers and seats for younger kids.

Hilton Head also has many outfitters who rent kayaks and paddleboards if you want to explore the area’s tidal waters.

2 pools and beach access


Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort has two pools, one that is centrally located to the dining and activities at the resort and the other on the oceanfront at Disney’s Beach House. Families may most enjoy the resort pool as it has a waterslide, a splash pool for toddlers and a hot tub.


The pool at Disney’s Beach House is smaller but only a short walk away from the beach. Both pools hold daily activities like trivia and games. During our visit, the activities team led the kids on a “treasure hunt” by hiding gems all around the pool.


If you want to go visit the beach, you’ll find a stand where a local company rents out beach chairs and umbrellas (or you can reserve them ahead of time). When you are ready to head back to the pool or to the resort, there are showers where you can rinse the sand off yourself and your belongings.

That special Disney touch

What impressed me most about Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort was that I still felt like I was at Disney even though I was hundreds of miles away. We had our photo taken with Pluto, saw Disney topiaries around the resort and got to play Disney trivia and make Disney crafts. We even received “first visit” buttons at check-in, just like when you visit a Disney park for the first time.

It wasn’t only the physical reminders that we were at a Disney resort; it was also the level of service and the friendliness of the cast members. My middle son was struggling with the bike we rented and a cast member took the time to boost his bike skills (and confidence) with a short lesson. Everyone we encountered was friendly and engaging, exactly as you’d expect at a Disney park.

Reasons Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort might not be for you

There’s really nothing not to love here unless, that is, you want to fall asleep listening to the sound of the waves and walk straight out to the beach in the morning. That wasn’t an issue for us because it was so easy to get around the island, but it’s something to keep in mind if you are considering this resort.


Like other Disney resorts, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort has accessible paths between all public areas, the lobby and your guest room, ensuring guests in wheelchairs can easily access all amenities. The resort also has wheelchair- and hearing-accessible guest rooms, accessible parking and accessible seating on the beach shuttle. You can also borrow complimentary beach wheelchairs at Disney’s Beach House to use during your time at the beach.

Checking out

Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort more than lived up to my expectations of a Disney vacation. It was really a treat to get all the best parts of a Disney vacation – friendly service, thoughtful touches and magical memories – with the relaxing, rejuvenating parts of a beach vacation. This adult who loves Disney thinks it’s a practically perfect combination.

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